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Neurodiversity Celebration Week: Embracing Inclusion in Engineering Education 

Posted on: March 22nd, 2024
Categorised: NDT ICorr News

We proudly recognise the diverse learning needs of our students and team members, including those who are neurodivergent. As avid supporters of initiatives such as Neurodiversity Celebration Week, we align with its vision of creating inclusive environments and advocating for neurodivergent individuals. 

Understanding Neurodiversity 

Neurodiversity encompasses neurological differences in how our brains process information. Individuals labelled as ‘neurodivergent’ exhibit thinking styles that are considered outside societal standards of ‘normal’ (CIPD, 2018), spanning diagnoses like Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, ADHD, and Autism. 

Resources and Support 

The Neurodiversity Celebration Week charity diligently works towards raising awareness and promoting acceptance of neurodiversity. Through various programmes and campaigns, they celebrate the strengths and talents of neurodivergent individuals while advocating for their rights and inclusion in society. Key support websites such as the National Autistic Society (NAS), ADHD Foundation, and British Dyslexia Association also offer invaluable resources and guidance. 

Within the engineering sector, professional bodies like Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IMechE), the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) and the Royal Academy of Engineering also offer support and guidance on embracing neurodiversity in education and the workplace.  

Neurodiversity in NDT and coatings inspection 

The very essence of roles within the Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and coatings industries demand innovative thinking and problem-solving. With their unique information processing, neurodivergent individuals offer a distinct advantage, perceiving situations from diverse perspectives, resulting in unconventional solutions that are often overlooked by neurotypical colleagues. 

At the BINDT Annual Conference in September 2023, the BINDT Diversity and Inclusion Advisory group hosted a “Diversity of thought” workshop where participants discussed the topic of neurodiversity and experiences of individuals who are neurodivergent.  

The session offered varied perspectives that may not have been previously considered and helped raise awareness of things we can all be more aware of when back in our workplace. It is essential for organisations to create an inclusive environment that enables neurodivergent individuals to deliver their skillset effectively and cultivate their abilities to flourish in their role.  

Reasonable Adjustments 

Reasonable adjustments are modifications or accommodations made in the workplace or educational environment to ensure that individuals with disabilities or specific needs can perform their work effectively. 

There are a wide range of types of reasonable adjustments available that can be tailored to an individual’s own specific needs. In relation to NDT and coatings training courses, these could include flexible learning formats, extended examination time, availability of a reader, providing course notes on coloured paper or a coloured reading panel.

Making these adjustments available ensures that every individual has the opportunity to thrive in our educational environment. 

What can we do differently? 

Reflecting upon how we go about our own day to day life, here’s a few things you could consider:  

  • Increase your own awareness of neurodiversity and how it may affect people in different ways 
  • Be more aware of your own conscious and possible unconscious biases 
  • Think about your behaviours and how they may affect others – what can you do differently to be more inclusive? 
  • Promote diversity of thought and create a safe space for people to feel comfortable expressing their own beliefs and experiences 

Together we celebrate neurodiversity and commit to creating a more inclusive future for all.